I am usually very attentive but today after having my car serviced I used my US issued card and the lady taking my money was working quickly and pushed once too often before I could stop her. She truly did not know the following, and apparently neither do her other foreign customers as we chatted about it. (US cards are still powered by steam so do not try to over-analyse the scenario described - no PINs and the routine is to press OK, OK, OK until it is done. Cards with PINs can be “stopped” if the card holder becomes aware of what is happening.)
The following is from an ANZ processed transaction that reflects what is essentially a banking scam to trap the unwary and add-on unnecessary charges that are pure profit for absolutely no value added.
-> When the card terminal detects an overseas card it offers a guaranteed exchange rate. The rate is generally the worst or one of the worst xrates anywhere in the western world at that moment, But wait, there is more!
-> Although one can accept or decline that xrate and go with the Visa/Mastercard xrates that are always more favourable, the “offer” is presented in a way that most shop assistants see as informational not a yes/no to accepting the poor xrate.
-> To decline the offered xrate requires a push of the cancel button. Most shop assistants interpret having to “cancel” not as just rejecting the xrate, but as cancelling the transaction, so they don’t think anything more and push OK. That OK accepts the poor xrate. But wait, there is more!
-> ANZ proudly adds their 2.5% fee for currency conversion services on top of the poor xrate. At the end of the transaction the card holder has paid about 3% more in the native currency than if they had rejected the “offer” and processed the charge as an $AUD charge, not one in the card’s native currency.
Our banks are going to extract our dollars whether or not we are their customers, or whether or not they are providing any services at all, let alone “valuable services”.
Our banks are not the most profitable in the world because they are efficient or competitive. Caveat Emptor.
(today the Visa xrate was $AUD1=$USD0.763524 (and the $AUD is falling) while ANZ charged 0.7881, a 3.1% rip)